I'm preaching on heaven on Sunday - "a new heaven and a new earth" (Rev. 21:1).
Eugene Peterson, in his book Reversed Thunder, has some excellent quotes that summarize well what I tend to believe on this important, yet often misunderstood issue. Enjoy!
“Heaven...is the metaphor that tells us that there is far more here than meets the eye. Beyond and through what we see there is that which we cannot see, and which is, wondrously, not ‘out there’ but right here before and among us: God – his rule, his love, his judgment, his salvation, his mercy, his grace, his healing, his wisdom.”
“The biblical story began, quite logically, with a beginning. Now it draws to an end, note quite so logically, also with a beginning...the story that has creation for its first word, has creation for its last word: “The end is where we start from” (quoting T.S. Eliot).
“The gospel does not begin with matter and then gradually get refined into spirit. The revelation of God does not begin with a material universe and a flesh and blood Jesus and then, working itself up through the grades, finally graduate into ether and angels and ideas.”
“Heaven is not what we wait for until the rapture or where we go when we die, but what is barely out of the range of our senses, but brought to our senses by St. John’s visions. We are now able to look upon events around us not as a hopeless morass of pagan deception and human misery, but as the birth pangs of a new creation and beckoning to participate in God’s remaking of God’s creation.”
“Many people want to go to heaven the way they want to go Florida – they think the weather will be an improvement and the people decent. But the biblical heaven is not a nice environment far removed from the stress of hard city life. It is the invasion of the city by the City. We enter heaven not by escaping what we don’t like, but by the sanctification of the place in which God has placed us.”
“Heaven is not simply a dream to retreat to when things get messy and inhospitable on earth. Heaven is not fantasy. We have access to heaven now: it is the invisibility in which we are immersed, and that is developing into visibility, and that one day will be thoroughly visible.”
I've written about heaven before, in my series, "Heaven: Out of this World?"